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Showing posts from April, 2017

Mapping your wifi network

In my earlier blog post about powerline networks, I noted that our wifi range extender didn't seem to work in our extension. I haven't been sure. In theory, using Wifi Protected Setup (WPS), the extender had the same wifi name and password so I couldn't tell whether our wifi devices were connected to the extender or the wifi router/base station.

On a rainy ANZAC Day I thought I'd look for an app to help me map my wifi network. Within seconds I came across the Telstra Wi-Fi Maximiser app.

This app enables you to import or sketch a floor plan, then take spot readings of your wifi network. It then turns those into a heat map.

In the example below, after marking the location of our 'gateway' (commonly called a wifi router), each target spot shows where I took readings inside and outside the house.

This map shows our second floor, with the gateway on the ground floor.

The plans made it clear that there are network coverage issues in our living room and on our first …

How to install a new garden tap for your vegetable garden

The day before the turf for our lawn was laid, I used a trenching shovel to quickly dig a trench from our existing tap on the back wall of the house, to the edge of our raised vegetable patches.

I laid a length of 25mm blue line PE pipe ("poly-pipe") and back filled the trench. I fitted a right angle elbow fitting to either end, with a short length sticking in the air, clear of the soil, so the line wouldn't become blocked.

During summer, our gardening efforts were focused on establishing the new lawn, so we didn't plant any vegetables.  Then last weekend, about six months after we laid the lawn, I completed the garden tap after speaking to a plumber about my options for connecting the pipe to the water supply.

In the end I took the easy and cheaper DIY option. At Bunnings I bought the tap fittings for the garden end, and quickly screwed it together.  A star dropper and some cable ties provide temporary support until I put in place a more substantial post.

The other …

Valve cosy for hotter water and energy savings

During the week I was lucky enough to be given a sample Valve Cosy.

A valve cosy is an energy saving and safety device that covers to hot water outlet from a hot water heater.

Where the hot water pipe leaves the heater is a point where energy is lost from the heater.  This means cooler water in your taps, and the hot water heater has to run for longer to reach the right temperature. Well, that's the theory anyhow.

The Valve Cosy itself is hard plastic, with a polystyrene type lining and foam around the pipe holes.

 It took about one minute to read the instructions and clip the cosy around the heater outlet.  The outlet is hot, supporting the claims about energy loss. The official page on their effectiveness shows that they appear to contain heat energy within the insulated cosy.

However, I noticed that the cosy easily moves - in my case it isn't a tight fit against the hot water heater. To me, that suggests its effectiveness is reducing energy loss from within the heater is mi…